Cult Cartoon Essentials

Thundarr the Barbarian

Thundarr the Barbarian was crated by Steve Gerber and produced by Ruby-Spears Productions. It ran for two seasons (21 episodes) between 1980 – 1982 and was set in the year 3994. Unfortunately (like a lot of possible futures) the Earth is a post-apocalyptic wasteland divided into kingdoms or territories — the majority of which are ruled by wizards – and whose ruins typically feature recognizable geographical features from the United States, starting in New York City and working itself to Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Mount Rushmore, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.. Other episodes with recognizable settings are located in Mexico, while one is in London.

Another important feature from the year 3994 is that the Moon is broken in two pieces. The shattered moon and the ruins of the former human civilization were caused by the passage of a runaway planet between the Earth and the Moon in 1994, which, from scenes shown in the opening sequence, caused radical changes in the Earth’s climate and geography. However, by the time period in which the series is set, the Earth and Moon seem to have settled into a new balance. Earth is reborn in a world of “savagery, super-science, and sorcery.”

Thundarr (Robert Ridgely) is a muscular warrior with his trusty Sunsword who travels the world on horseback with Princess Ariel (Nellie Bellflower), a formidable young sorceress, and Ookla the Mok (Henry Corden) and battle evil wizards who combine magical spells with reanimating technologies from the pre-catastrophe world as well as The Brotherhood of Night (a group of werewolves who could transform others into werewolves by their touch), the cosmic Stalker from The Stars (a predatory, malevolent cosmic vampire), and various mutants.

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